Facebook is a social networking platform with over 1.23 billion monthly active users and touted as one of the fastest growing public companies. Hordes of people and businesses have jumped on the bandwagon with hopes to connect, grow and (in many cases) sell their business services or products.
Facebook initially started out 11 years ago as a college social networking platform, connecting students with each other to discuss party plans, events, school course work etc. As people joined outside colleges, this platform quickly evolved into an advertising haven for businesses.
As a web developer/designer I am constantly being asked if Facebook is important for their business. This article will cover a few frequently asked questions and answers to help you better understand whether Facebook is right for your company and if so, how you can capitalize on this free platform.
Should your business be active on Facebook?
Jordan Banks of Facebook Canada states, “If you think about the right people getting the right message at the right time and then targeting that against the right business objective, we feel we have a platform that is by far and away the best in Canada to do that.” But does this truly apply to the entrepreneur and small business that have limited budgets and time? This you will have to decide yourself and work out the pros and cons of your involvement.
If your demographics and competition are using Facebook, this is a good platform of choice. With clear objectives of involvement you will be able to build a targeted community of followers and/or fans in an inexpensive manner.
Undertake Facebook research
I always suggest to my clients to define and review their target audience in terms of Facebook activity. For example, young adults (18 – 24 years) are using Snap Chat and Instagram more than Facebook in 2014. Yet middle-aged women represent a larger amount of usage than their male counterparts.
Personal data and behaviour patterns are collected to market products and services, allowing you to review the demographics of your target audience as part of your decision making about participation or not. Another form of research is to see view your competitor’s activity and level of engagement with fans.
Lastly, you can create a comparative chart between the various social platforms to see whether Facebook would be most advantageous. Where many businesses fall down is through spreading themselves too thin and not keeping up on a consistent basis. I’m guilty for that myself.
Suggested Facebook guidelines & etiquette
- Be authentic and transparent
- Only post publicly what you want people to see
- If you receive a negative comment, answer it honestly without emotion
- Be genuine and helpful
- It is not a place though to air your dirty laundry.
How are businesses using Facebook to generate more business or awareness?
- Sharing industry-related news
- Sharing articles through their blog
- Offering free downloads in return for growing their mailing list
- Building relationships with people they may not have met in-person and having conversations with their fans
- Advertising their products or services
- Sharing and obtaining registration for events
- Customer service platform
- Generating credibility through star ratings or testimonials
- Utilizing groups for research, getting input and opinions
- Some businesses are building communities through Groups even if they have less marketing functional capabilities
How to build more visibility and engagement with posts?
- Understand when your target audience is online and schedule your posts ahead with tools like Hootsuite or buffer
- Experiment with post and content types – video, images, polls, questions, links from 3rd party with your opinion or commentary, industry-related news
- Share “behind-the-business-scene” content to showcase your personality
- Don’t be afraid to ask for their opinion along with a call to action, such as “click to like or share”
- Optimize your link posts with a different image and a keyword rich title
- Hashtag with care, do not overuse them. Hashtags are searchable keywords when clicked on, e.g. #FBMarketing.
Analyze indirect sales opportunities
For some Facebook may be the best social platform for your business and experience great results. It is important to take a close look at how you will spend your time and energy. Don’t just measure your fan base and “Likes”, instead analyze whether your page is generating great relationship building opportunities that supports indirect sales.
Here are other helpful links to articles that will help you to manage your Facebook page:
- How to Improve Your Facebook News Feed Visibility
- How to Increase Fan Engagement on Your Facebook Page – Amy Porterfield
If interested, Jemma has a downloadable PDF – Facebook Guidebook for $9.99. Download your copy today.
Image credit: By mkhmarketing, Flickr.com.